I’ve long been troubled by the duplicitousness of the Vancouver identity. If you accept for a second that there is such a thing as the Vancouver identity, then you know it’s wrapped in enough paradoxes and ironies to make Baudrillard blush. Better than anyone else, Vancouverites can talk the talk about the environment, eco-density, and all the things needed to make the world a better place. Just make sure someone else does the work to make the change.
Welcome to Kerrisdale, Vancouver’s home to the rich and nimby, where populist politics are all the rage up until the point of taking action. In this low-density mecca of mansion homes, residents are likely to be found voicing support for green living and better transit all the while idling in their SUVs looking for the perfect place to park and grab a coffee in a take-out cup.
But as the Kerrisdale cult grows older, the kids leave the home and the neighbourhood’s population drops to even greater lows, what is there to do? The solution from George Wong at Platinum Project Marketing is to go out and buy another house.
And that brings us to 5955 Balsam, a Kerrisdale condo designed for the upper-crust of Vancouver’s creme. With multi-level garden, tower and penthouse homes starting at more than 1,200 square feet, these are gargantuan residences by Vancouver standards. Is this necessary in the city that’s supposedly all about eco-density? Here’s how a Platinum sales manager makes it all make sense:
We think 5955 Balsam will appeal to the discerning elderly who want to maintain a west-side lifestyle, but do not want the stairs or the maintenance of the large family home.
Additionally, we expect strong interest from discerning empty nesters who are of the modern mindset that ‘there is life after kids and retirement,’ who want to get out of the large home with the maintenance and get into the lock-up-and-go apartment, travel, eat out and start adventuring.
The operative word here is ‘discerning.’ These people will come from large custom homes and will not compromise on the ‘sense’ of space or quality.
So, you’re telling me that only those who’ve lived in large, custom-built homes know what quality is? That would be funny if it wasn’t so oppressive. My apologies for being middle class.
Speaking of oppression, check out this description of 5955 Balsam’s amenities as detailed by the Vancouver Sun:
The grounds will have a ‘Great Lawn,’ for pet runs; a lawn bowling and croquet green; a fireside terrace for resident gatherings; and a ‘poet’s corner’ . . . a secluded area in the extensive landscaped garden where one can contemplate, meditate and ruminate.
Call me anti-social but I don’t think a fireside gathering of Kerrisdale old timers is my idea of a good time. And what’s with the poet’s corner? Would you pay $800,000 to listen to Jennifer Clarke-types wax nostalgic about the 2002 election in iambic pentameter?
According to Wong, 5955 Balsam is a project unlike any other that will come again in a lifetime. By this he means the package of concrete construction, views, and the developer’s name. The Vancouver Sun backs him on the once-in-a-lifetime stuff, saying Wong “does not issue superlatives easily or readily.”
If this isn’t condo hype at its finest, I don’t know what is.